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Open Meeting Laws

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NEWS
April 1, 1987 | DOUGLAS SHUIT, Times Staff Writer
Atty. Gen. John K. Van de Kamp and Senate President Pro Tem David A. Roberti revived efforts Tuesday to pass legislation aimed at closing loopholes in open meeting laws that they said are allowing local government agencies to conduct increasing amounts of public business in secret. Van de Kamp said at a Capitol news conference that current law provides "a shield for private discussion of virtually any sensitive issue which might conceivably become the subject of litigation." Michael B.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 24, 2014 | By Hector Becerra
The troubled Central Basin Municipal Water District violated the state's open-meeting laws when it created a $2.7-million fund in virtual secrecy, an investigation by the agency's attorneys concluded. The fund, created for a groundwater storage project, was managed without public hearings or notifications, and records related to it were among those subpoenaed by federal prosecutors. The subpoenas came after an FBI raid on the Sacramento offices of state Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello)
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 31, 2012 | By Jason Song and Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles County supervisors violated the law last fall when they held a closed-door meeting with Gov. Jerry Brown to discuss a controversial plan to give local governments responsibility for nonviolent prisoners and probationers, according to the district attorney's office. Under the new mandate, dubbed realignment, prisoners convicted of nonviolent and non-sex-related crimes, such as low-level drug offenders or thieves, are to be kept in county jails instead of state prison.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 3, 2013 | By Abby Sewell and Jack Leonard
The stated intent of the action was to increase government accountability. But some open-government advocates are suggesting that the Los Angeles County supervisors ran afoul of the spirit, and perhaps the letter, of the state's open-meetings law last week when they selected a new watchdog to monitor the Sheriff's Department. The board met behind closed doors Nov. 26 and tentatively chose prosecutor Max Huntsman to fill the newly created position of Sheriff's Department inspector general.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 18, 1991
City commissioners should receive training to familiarize them with state open meeting laws to ensure that decisions made by the panels are legally sound, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Joy Picus said Wednesday. Council members were angered earlier this month when they learned that the city Police Commission's decision to place Chief Daryl F.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 22, 2008 | Christine Hanley, Times Staff Writer
Amid concerns that it may have violated open meeting laws, the Orange County Fair Board has decided to take a second vote on its newly adopted policy limiting each board member to 10 complimentary tickets for each of the summer concerts at the Pacific Amphitheatre. The policy that was approved in June will be temporarily rescinded because a Newport Beach resident who wanted to address the nine-member board was not given an opportunity to speak until after the board voted. Under state law, the public must have an opportunity to make comments before a vote is taken.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 23, 1992
The state Legislature over the years has adopted open meeting laws to protect the public against government decisions being made in secret. Yet, the most significant and far-reaching government decisions are still being made behind closed doors. At last count, Gov. Pete Wilson and state lawmakers have held 12 closed-door meetings where secret deals are being made to solve the state's fiscal crisis. In its wisdom, the Legislature created some of the strictest open meeting laws in the nation for California cities, counties and districts, but did not deem it necessary to apply the laws to state government.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 5, 2008 | Seema Mehta
The district attorney's office confirmed Thursday it was investigating allegations that the Capistrano Unified School District violated the state's open meeting laws. A spokesperson declined to comment on the nature of the investigation, but Trustee Duane Stiff said he was interviewed by prosecutors about potential violations of the state's Brown Act during the closed-session portion of the school board's Aug. 11 meeting. The Brown Act allows elected officials to meet in closed sessions in strictly limited circumstances, such as employee evaluations, labor negotiations and legal matters, and also spells out what must be disclosed publicly about these meetings.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 17, 1995
Recent news reports informed us of a Simi Valley City Council closed meeting at which the city manager and city attorney received pay raises. It seems that, currently, when questions of compliance rise, the agency representative uses the excuse that last year's changes were not fully understood. Too often that is simply a handy excuse for what has been a violation for many years. Elected bodies (including self-appointed members), appointed bodies and committees need only be cognizant and willing to observe the intent of the open meeting laws to avoid violations.
NEWS
January 16, 1986 | LEO C. WOLINSKY, Times Staff Writer
When members of the Los Angeles City Council voted themselves a pay raise last year without discussion or public notice, the issue landed in Superior Court where a judge labeled the action "bizarre." The raise ultimately was overturned because it was larger than what the City Charter allows, but the hasty, unannounced council procedure, it turned out, had been entirely legal.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 3, 2013 | By Paul Pringle and Rong-Gong Lin II
A judge Thursday said the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission appeared to have repeatedly violated the state's open-meeting law during its months of closed-door deliberations on USC's lease of the taxpayer-owned stadium. In pointed language, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Luis A. Lavin said he was prepared to issue an injunction against the commission that would restrict what it could discuss in secret sessions and require it to record all of its private meetings for three years.
OPINION
June 13, 2013
Re "The Brown Act means what it says," Editorial, June 10 I applaud your fine editorial on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors' attempt, via AB 246, to do an end-run around our state's open meetings law, the Brown Act. The people aren't easily fooled. In meeting privately to discuss the state's prison realignment law with Gov. Jerry Brown in 2011, L.A. supervisors broke the law, plain and simple. Requesting that Assemblyman Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) write a bill granting them a "special" exception to the Brown Act shows a lack of respect for the people's right to know.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 3, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
Lawmakers on Monday moved to roll back state open-government rules, passing a measure that would allow the public to be excluded from certain gatherings including the governor and county officials.   The measure, which the state Senate on Monday sent to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk for a signature, comes in reaction to a legal opinion by a county prosecutor that a private 2011 meeting between Brown and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors violated government transparency laws.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 20, 2012 | By Jason Song, Los Angeles Times
During a closed-door session with Los Angeles County supervisors last fall, California Gov. Jerry Brown made a comment acknowledging that there would be questions about whether the group was violating the law. According to a transcript obtained by The Times, the governor said at one point during the meeting, "Let's get our Brown Act cover story. " He was referring to the state's open-meetings law, the Ralph M. Brown Act. Moments later, then-County Counsel Andrea Sheridan Ordin noted that reporters who questioned the legality of the meeting - which indeed was later ruled illegal - were waiting outside.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 2, 2012 | By Rong-Gong Lin II and Paul Pringle, Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission came under fire from state officials Wednesday for a lack of transparency, then was forced to cancel its monthly meeting halfway into the session after officials acknowledged the venue had failed to publicly post the agenda as required by law. The cancellation came just hours after members of the California Science Center board, which owns the Coliseum land, chastised the stadium's top executive for...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 31, 2012 | By Jason Song and Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles County supervisors violated the law last fall when they held a closed-door meeting with Gov. Jerry Brown to discuss a controversial plan to give local governments responsibility for nonviolent prisoners and probationers, according to the district attorney's office. Under the new mandate, dubbed realignment, prisoners convicted of nonviolent and non-sex-related crimes, such as low-level drug offenders or thieves, are to be kept in county jails instead of state prison.
OPINION
June 13, 2013
Re "The Brown Act means what it says," Editorial, June 10 I applaud your fine editorial on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors' attempt, via AB 246, to do an end-run around our state's open meetings law, the Brown Act. The people aren't easily fooled. In meeting privately to discuss the state's prison realignment law with Gov. Jerry Brown in 2011, L.A. supervisors broke the law, plain and simple. Requesting that Assemblyman Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) write a bill granting them a "special" exception to the Brown Act shows a lack of respect for the people's right to know.
NEWS
January 27, 2002
Re "Critics Question Legality of County Talks," Jan. 15: For some time, Times editorial writers have been calling upon Orange County leaders to set aside differences and find ways to work together to solve the housing, transportation, and water quantity and quality problems facing this region. Yet when 65 board and staff members from various county agencies recently attended an intensive two-day leadership symposium at the UCLA Conference Center at Lake Arrowhead, The Times did not applaud their efforts.
OPINION
September 27, 2011
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors sat down Monday with Gov. Jerry Brown to discuss AB 109 realignment, under which counties, beginning Saturday, take responsibility for a large portion of inmates and parolees who until now have been supervised by the state. The law mandates that board meetings be public, but the supervisors wanted their meeting to be held behind closed doors. So county lawyers cited an exception — Government Code Section 54957(a) — that applies to meetings that local officials call to confer with security experts about threats to public buildings and utilities.
NATIONAL
May 26, 2011 | By Richard Simon, Los Angeles Times
In yet another twist in Wisconsin's bitter fight over unions, a judge Thursday struck down the Republican-sponsored bill to strip most public workers of their collective bargaining rights, moving the battle to the state Supreme Court. Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi ruled that the Legislature violated the state's open meetings law in approving the bill championed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker that sparked massive protests and the flight of 14 Democratic senators to Illinois in a futile effort to prevent its passage.
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